A new program has been launched aimed at providing new exporters with the skills they need to capitalise on the opportunities created by the landmark free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China.
The federal government will provide $2.45 million over two years to assist with training for small and medium-sized (SMEs) business owners and employees.
The program is designed to give SME exporters a better understanding of the export process and show them how to access and take advantage of Australia’s new trade agreements with our largest Asian trading partners.
“Australia has negotiated preferential treatment under Australia’s FTAs with China, Japan and Korea, but these benefits are meaningless if we don’t seek to quickly take advantage of the opportunities opening up in the region around us,” said Trade Minister Andrew Robb who launched the new program.
Mr Robb said the new Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grants would assist in training SMEs about how to use FTAs with the three target markets. The training would enhance understanding of the FTA benefits and foster greater engagement through knowledge sharing.
The eligible applicants will be organisations equipped to provide this training, such as member-based business organisations, registered training providers and educational institutions.
Promoting jobs, growth and innovation
The government set aside nearly $25 million in the May Budget to “empower and inform businesses” about the new trading opportunities created by the FTAs.
“Together with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the trade agreements with Asia form a key plank of the Government’s strategy to promote jobs, growth and innovation in this critical post-mining boom period,” Mr Robb said.
“These Asian markets already account for 62 per cent of our total goods exports but there is a huge opportunity to expand our engagement, particularly in services. One of our objectives is to see an increase in the number of SMEs involved in exporting.” he said.
Applications for the first round of training provider grants opens today (October 28).
Guidelines for the scheme are now available online, with information sessions also being held around the country to explain the program.
Details can be found at: www.austrade.gov.au/fta-tp or Ph: 1300 136 014.